Jeffrey Wigand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jeffrey Wigand
Jeffrey Wigand (178631094).jpg
Wigand in 2006
Jeffrey Stephen Wigand

(1942-12-17) December 17, 1942 (age 76)
Alma materUniversity at Buffalo
OccupationExpert witness, consultant
Known forWhistleblower on the tobacco industry
Spouse(s)Hope Elizabeth May

Jeffrey Stephen Wigand (/ˈwɡænd/; born December 17, 1942) is an American biochemist and former vice president of research and development at Brown & Williamson in Louisville, Kentucky, who worked on the development of reduced-harm cigarettes and in 1996 blew the whistle on tobacco tampering at the company. He currently lectures around the world as an expert witness and consultant for various tobacco issues, and devotes time to his non-profit organization Smoke-Free Kids Inc, an organization that works to help young people decide not to use tobacco.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jeffrey Wigand was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx and later Pleasant Valley, New York. After a brief time in the military (including a short assignment in Vietnam), he earned a Master's in Biochemistry and a PhD from the University at Buffalo in Biochemistry.[2] He met his first wife, Linda, in 1970 while attending a judo class.


Prior to working for Brown & Williamson, Wigand worked for several health care companies, including Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. In addition, he was employed as General Manager and Marketing Director at Union Carbide in Japan, and as a Senior Vice President at Technicon Instruments.

Wigand became nationally known as a whistleblower on February 4, 1996, when he appeared on the CBS news program 60 Minutes and stated that Brown & Williamson had intentionally manipulated its tobacco blend with chemicals such as ammonia to increase the effect of nicotine in cigarette smoke.[3] Wigand claimed that he was subsequently harassed and received anonymous death threats. Wigand discussed the death threats in an interview.[4]

Wigand had begun to work for Brown & Williamson in January 1989 and was fired on March 24, 1993. He says that he was fired as a whistleblower because he knew that high-ranking corporate executives knowingly approved the addition of additives to their cigarettes that were known to be carcinogenic and/or addictive, such as coumarin.[5][3] In 1993, Brown & Williamson hired Investigative Group International to investigate him; the firm produced a 500-page document named "The Misconduct of Jeffrey S. Wigand Available in the Public Record" which portrayed Wigand as a "liar, shoplifter, plagiarist, wife-beater and expense-account cheater."[6]

Following this he taught physical science, biology, and Japanese at duPont Manual Magnet High School in Louisville, Kentucky, and was eventually named 1996 Teacher of the Year for the state of Kentucky.

Wigand no longer teaches high school and instead lectures worldwide to a variety of audiences including children, college, medical and law students and a diverse group of policy makers. He has consulted with governments throughout the world on tobacco control policies (the list includes Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Germany, France, Ireland, Iceland and Japan).


He was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the 1999 film The Insider directed by Michael Mann, which also stars Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer.

Personal life[edit]

Wigand is married to Hope Elizabeth May, an American philosopher, author and lawyer[7] who is a professor at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, where he now resides.

Honorary degrees[edit]

  • Sc.D. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Science-Honoris Causa)
  • Honorary M.D. Medical Society of Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Ph.D. Connecticut College (Humane Letters-Honoris Causa)


  1. ^ Jeffrey Wigand Biography
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Brenner, Marie (May 1996), "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (PDF), Vanity Fair, retrieved July 2, 2010
  4. ^ "A chat with the ultimate Insider - Dr. Jeffrey Wigand". The Big Mac Blog. Archived from the original on July 8, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ringle, Ken (March 2, 1998). "Lenzner: Private Eye Or Public Enemy?". Washington Post.
  7. ^ A Very Special Wedding. (2008-10-19). Retrieved on 2012-06-03.

External links[edit]